POLYCYSTIC OVARIAN SYNDROME A MODERN THREAT

7 min


PCOD stands for polycystic ovarian syndrome or disease. PCOD is one of the most common disorders that are increasingly prevalent in Indian women. Moreover, in recent studies, they have found that one in five women gets diagnosed with PCOD. This can be easily managed by adopting certain lifestyle modifications. Hence, this article highlights the signs and symptoms,  types, management, and lifestyle modifications of PCOD.

WHAT IS POLYCYSTIC OVARIAN SYNDROME?

Polycystic ovarian syndrome is a hormonal disorder affecting women. Not only women of reproductive age, but adolescent and post-menopausal women also get affected. In this condition, there are numerous small cyst-filled sacs in the ovaries. Most of the women affected with this condition have an irregular menstrual cycle (might be prolonged also), hormonal imbalance occurs when androgen levels are increased in women.

As a result, there is excess hair growth in the face and chest. Most of the women don’t note the signs properly, if not diagnosed properly might lead to various problems. Hence, if not diagnosed properly this might lead to type 2 diabetes mellitus (more common), heart diseases, and obesity.

HISTORY OF POLYCYSTIC OVARIAN SYNDROME:

The first case of PCOD was first reported in Italy (1721). Further, American Gynecologists Stein and Michael L. Leventhal (also known as Stein- Leventhal syndrome) discovered this condition in 1935. They found that genetic influence, hormonal imbalance, insulin response are the etiological factors for this condition.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF POLYCYSTIC OVARIAN SYNDROME :

The signs and symptoms of PCOD vary from person to person:

  • Irregular menstruation (Irregular or prolonged menstruation is the most common sign)
  • Excessive bleeding during menstruation (at times)
  • Presence of excessive hair on face and chest (known as hirsutism)
  • Excessive acne on the face ( due to increased level of androgen, this can trigger the oil response in skin and make it oil-prone)
  • Extreme thinning of hair on the scalp.
  • Sudden weight gain.
  • Black patch in the skin
  • Headaches (at times there might be headaches due to the hormonal imbalance.)

ETIOLOGY OF POLYCYSTIC OVARIAN SYNDROME:

The exact aetiology is unknown. There is no such definitive pathway for this syndrome. One reason is that it can occur due to insulin resistance. That is the cells in our body fail to respond to the insulin hormone. Since glucose is not being used for energy, it ultimately gets stored, resulting in weight gain. Ultimately, the excess insulin will cause the excess production of androgen hormone. This can lead to ovulation.

Further, two major hormones such as LH (Luteinizing hormone) and FSH(Follicle-stimulating hormone). These hormones are responsible for female reproduction. Further, the androgen substrates produce testosterone and estrogen. To prevent complications the FSH and LH levels should be balanced.

During the normal menstrual cycle, in the beginning, FSH is higher than LH. This cycle is reversed in PCOD. Whereas LH is increased, leading to androgen substrates to produce elevated testosterone levels. This ultimately leads to excess facial hair. Finally, the FSH levels. The stimulation of the ovaries does not occur. This is the reason for irregular periods in women with PCOD.

EPIDEMIOLOGY:

PCOD affects two-thirds of Indian women. The prevalence rate is almost 15-20%. Nearly 50% of women have insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes mellitus. Moreover, this affects 4 – 8% of women of reproductive age.

TYPES OF POLYCYSTIC OVARIAN SYNDROME:

There are 4 types of PCOD, they are:

INSULIN RESISTANT TYPE:

This is the most common type. This type affects the majority of women. Often leads to diabetes before the age of 40. The main reason increased levels of insulin which ultimately leads to overweight.

PILL-INDUCED PCODS:

This is the second most common type. This occurs due to the consumption of birth control pills which suppress ovulation. This might also be a factor for PCODs. Many of the women are unaware of this type.

INFLAMMATORY PCODS:

Due to stress, consuming an increased gluten diet, inflammation is increased in the body. Imbalance of hormone levels occur. Hence, this leads to an inflammatory type of PCODs.

HIDDEN TYPE:

This typically occurs due to thyroid diseases, iodine deficiency, zinc deficiency (due to vegetarian diet consumption), and consumption of artificial sweeteners. These factors are the underlying causes for the hidden type of polycystic ovarian syndrome.

INVESTIGATIONS OF POLYCYSTIC OVARIAN SYNDROME:

COMPLETE BLOOD TEST (CBC):

CBC test counts the total number of blood cells such as red blood cells (RBC), white blood (WBC), and platelets. To detect the hormone levels this test taken. And also, fasting blood sugar test, triglyceride test, cholesterol test also advised to take.

PELVIC EXAMINATION:

This test a women’s genital examination test performed by the doctor to detect any sort of abnormalities.

ULTRASOUND:

Ultrasound uses high-frequency sound wave to make images of the body. Used for checking the thickness of the uterus and the appearance of the ovaries.

For further confirmation of PCOD, periodic examination of the blood pressure, screening test for stress and anxiety, and sleep apnea test are taken for further diagnosis.

MANAGEMENT OF POLYCYSTIC OVARIAN SYNDROME:

PROGESTIN THERAPY:

Progestin is a naturally occurring hormone in our body that inhibits ovulation. Further, it treats irregular periods, cramps etc. A course takes 14 days to complete.

PILL THERAPY:

Oestrogen is an important hormone to regulate PCOD. Hence, pills that increase this hormone is given. Further, this can regulate hormone levels.

ANTI DIABETIC DRUG:

Metformin is an anti-diabetic drug given for type 2 diabetes mellitus. This drug is also given in polycystic ovarian syndrome to decrease the glucose level in the blood.

LIFESTYLE MODIFICATION:

The lifestyle modification includes a healthy diet, regular exercise. For improving menstrual irregularity, preventing the risk of obesity this method plays an important role.

OTHER THERAPY:

The other therapies include drugs used to treat acne and Hirsutism. And also, testosterone lowering drugs, weight loss drugs, and anti-anxiety drugs usually prescribed.

TIPS FOR PCODS:

Since weight gain is one of the main reasons. diet modification is very important for this condition. A green leafy diet such as broccoli, spinach, and all the green leafy vegetables has extremely good iron and vitamin B benefits. Foods that are rich in antioxidants such as avocadoes, green tea promote excellent benefits. Further, berries and whole grains are rich in antioxidants.

NUTRITIOUS DIET:

FRUITS DIET:

Consume more amount of fruits, that contain almost 70% of water. This provides a lot of nutrition, aids in weight loss and balances hormone levels. Refined carbohydrates, unprocessed foods, sweeteners, sweetened syrups, dairy foods, red meat should be strictly avoided.

GLUTEN DIET :

Avoid gluten diets strictly. This might increase the inflammatory levels in the body. This might also increase the blood glucose levels in the body.

EXERCISE:

Exercising daily reduces the blood glucose levels in the body. Not only exercise, but any sort of physical activity is also a part of a healthy lifestyle. There is certain yoga for irregular periods, aerobics and cardio contributes to weight loss. Moreover, Zumba is one of the powerful stresses relieving aerobic which reduces almost 1000 calories.

REDUCING STRESS LEVELS:

Stress is one of the factors for this syndrome. Reading books, listening to some good music, going for a walk, and start doing the things you love to do. This will reduce stress levels. Not only a healthy diet, medications, relieving stress is a crucial part of this syndrome.

ACNE:

Acne develops when pores of the skin get clogged with dirt and dead cells. Consumption of oily foods, unprocessed food is one of the major causes of acne. PCOD causes extensive acne. Acne should be treated separately. Oral-retinoids are also given. And taking some of the home remedies will help us get rid of acne. Applying turmeric is one of our traditional remedies for acne. Moreover, Lemon juice is one of the rich sources of vitamin C and lightens the scars.

Applying potato juice, tomato juice is one of the best home remedies to get clear glowing skin. Most women want to get clear glowing skin, and they land up trying many cosmetic products for it. Applying aloe vera gel, apple cider vinegar is one of the best remedies. Diluting the apple cider vinegar with water can be applied to acne once or twice daily.  Aloe vera gel soothes irritated skin. Applying green tea and also consumption of green tea is the best remedy for acne.

WATER:

Consume a minimum of 7-8 litres of water per day. This will prevent any sort of diseases, promotes weight loss. Researchers say that to get clear-free skin water consumption plays a very important role. Water consumption is also an excellent remedy for acne. This also promotes weight loss faster.

CELEBRITIES WITH PCOD:

Bollywood actress, Sonam Kapoor suffered from PCOS. She also revealed that she managed with the advice of her mother. By adopting certain lifestyle modifications. And also, Sonam lost weight during her debut movie time. Now, she is absolutely fine.

Popular Kollywood actress, Shruti Haasan had weight gain, facial hair, acne. And diagnosed with PCOD. Shruti had irregular menstruation and experienced severe pain. She also had severe hormonal fluctuations during these conditions. Lifestyle modifications are like a golden remedy for this syndrome.

CONCLUSION:

To sum up, PCOD is one of the endocrine diseases affecting the majority of women. However, Consuming proper medications and also healthy diet plans and modifications will promote a healthy life. A greeny diet, antioxidant-rich foods, fruits, and almonds are proper diets for this condition. Hence, aerobics and Zumba practice give benefits. Therefore, this condition managed by lifestyle modification.


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Dr Shalini S.G
I am a dental surgeon. I love travelling and listening to music and a passionate person in research and doing lots of presentation. My area of interest is pathology, diagnosis and forensics.